Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 Model Year

Gardens are like cars. Go with me on this. You’ve got your Cadillac gardens, massive beds, large scale parterres and fountains, prim and proper. There’s the Japanese or Zen style gardens, er, I mean Toyota Prius—never assuming, but quiet, peaceful, socially connected to the larger world and landscape around it. You’ve got you Fords and GMs, you know, foundation plantings from a bix box nursery, whatever came with the house. Then there’s those exotic plants you shouldn’t have, that have no business in that environment, that can’t even handle snow and need too much pampering and cost far too much in the first place, but they sure are nice to salivate over—Bugatti, Astin Martin.

You’ve got gardens that are like a 1985 Honda CRX or some other small, two door car that just won’t quit. It’s rusted, beat up, smells like every restaurant and air freshener imaginable, it doesn’t get you out of the city, but what it lacks in dependability and sex appeal it makes up for in decent gas mileage and readily-available parts on Ebay. This kind of garden comes from Home Depot, and usually looks like an under-watered, scraggly maple marooned in the front yard, with some boxwood hugging the house, and in the fall nasty orange geraniums in a pot or two (doped up with Miracle Gro).

Finally, you’ve got your minivan gardens. I’ll call them vegetable beds. Completely utilitarian and economical, practical. But there’s always a new scratch, a new ding, something spilled on the carpet. There’s always a head of lettuce missing, infested tomatoes, strawberries pecked to death by birds. But you’re not in it for the now, you’re in it for the long haul. The experience. The nurturing. The hope that what you provide will create a better future. Vegetable gardens seem more altruistic to me, maybe like that Toyota Prius.

Still, who doesn’t dream of that sexy something sitting next to you in the Maserati convertible, both of you perfect, complete because of your fortune 500 company or the sweet inheritance or the lawsuit against Monsanto that actually stuck once hell froze over. Look at you two, wind in your luscious hair, dressed in Armani, sipping champagne from the refrigerator glove box—like some modern day Louis XIV strolling down Versailles as groundskeepers rush ahead to turn on fountains just for you.

9 comments:

debsgarden said...

I love it! We are definitely toyota prius, along with a Honda Odyssey, but in my heart I'm longing for that Masrati!

Kimberly said...

Absolutely BRILLIANT!!!! Great analogy of the garden! Must admit that I love the Maserati and Astin Martin!!

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

I love your car metaphor and the way you developed it. I am not sure what kind of garden I have: no big box, no Japanese, no Versailles, no vegetables to speak of, but I do drive a Prius.

Nell Jean said...

Some years ago one of my friends overhead a conversation in a doctor's office in which a young woman sneering referred to the large four door sedans which we drive as a 'Granny Grocery Getter.' Only old people know why we drive such: they're big and square and easy to get in and out. My garden is the same way, tailored to abilities rather than fashion.

Benjamin Vogt said...

DG--Oh, tell me about it....
K--Brilliant? I wouldn't go that far, but hey. :)
C--Well, we can expand these rankings. I'm open.
NJ--And they're safe! More distance between you at the other car hitting you; that's why I figure so many people like SUVS, high off the ground, your bumper is their windshield. But you're right, a garden should be tailored to abilities and not fashion, and that's a good take on my silly ideas.

Meredehuit ♥ said...

In answer to your final paragraph... I don't. Doesn't even sound inviting to me at any stage of my life. Sorry to disagree, Benjamin, but I guess I have found that if I'm going to dream, I choose to pick more enduring scenes... even in my gardens. What vehicle does that make me... horse and buggy? I'll take peace and comfort over the racing any day.

But I did enjoy your analysis!

Wendy said...

ha ha. THis is great. I'm not a fan of mini-vans at all, and (ignoring my in-ground mini-van like side garden), my backyard potager might be like my friend's VW. Somewhat reasonable, but hopefully with leather heated seats.

Benjamin Vogt said...

M--To each his or her own. I dream of sports cars. I also dream of tractors. See no reason why one can't have both, even if we extend cars back to garden metaphors--have a showy bit of garden you pamper, have a bit that's simple or "enduring."
W--Ah, a VW. That's a good one. Leather, or even pleather?

Indoor Fountains said...

Great analogy- I never thought of it this way!! Cheers